By S.T. VanAirsdale
You won't be seeing much of me around here in the next few months, because I have a new mission in life. Specifically, I'm training as a projectionist so I can be in the booth for the NYC premiere of Nothing is Private, the directing debut of American Beauty screenwriter/Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball, which Gregg Goldstein now reports Warner Independent picked up today for $1.25 million. Around the time of Ball's Q&A, I plan to smuggle the last reel down to the seating level and BLUDGEON THE MOTHERFUCKER TO DEATH WITH IT.
If a more facile, stupid, condescending, predictable, smug, exploitive, corrosively despicable piece of wanna-be transgressive horseshit was ever made, then let's have it, because I really am too old to take on a new profession just to get even with this asshole. It goes like this (I'm practicing the short synopsis for my therapist): Circa 1990, 13-year-old Jasira (Summer Bishil) is deeply curious about sex, her body, etc. She gets shuttled from her shrill white mother (Maria Bello) in Syracuse to her conservative Lebanese father (Peter Macdissi) in the Houston suburbs. She dates a black guy who shaves her twat then fucks her, is molested by her National Guardsman neighbor (Aaron Eckhart), gets called a "towelhead," "sandnigger," "camel jockey" and the like. A sensitive pregnant woman (Toni Collette) saves her from everyone's abuse. Everyone winds up in the same room for a climactic showdown, people cry, the pregnant woman falls down, but the baby's OK. Your total comes to $1.25 million.
Think of it like Todd Solondz remaking Crash in a cul-de-sac, but with twice the tampons and a quarter of the self-respect. Ball makes Paul Haggis look like Robert Bresson. This prick couldn't direct traffic in a two-car garage. The hi-def cinematography is barely carpet-commercial grade, slumping into a blown-out honey hue recalling dive bar urinal spatter. The actors grimace through scene upon scene of button-pushing for button-pushing's sake, from bloody panties to competing American flags to adolescent strip/rape scenarios. So controversial, I know. Or maybe I'm the one being facile; do audiences still actually fall for this "dark suburbia" boilerplate? Is Alan Ball that cynical, or are masturbating 13-year-olds browsing porn mags the newest, freshest angle in the Are You Shocked, America? How About Now? playbook?
I could go on, but you'll be able to see it soon enough, apparently. Let it suffice to say that I hope the negative catches fire in a freak storage accident. I hope the power goes out at the New York press junket and that Ball's limo runs out of gas on the way there. I hope black mold infests Warner Independent's offices and the gold peels off its March of the Penguins Oscar. Fuck you, Alan Ball; I want my two hours back.
Posted at September 11, 2007 7:18 PM
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